With the gulf coast of Alaska warm under the sun of an unusually early spring, the Midwestern state that wanted to rebrand itself as North is bracing for just what that name suggests.
Warnings of blizzards, winter storms and winter weather were posted for most of Minnesota on Monday.
The National Weather Service sounded almost snowpocalyptic:
“A major, mid-April winter storm is expected starting Wednesday….Snowfall rates of one to two inches per hour will be possible at times….Winds will increase Wednesday night with gusts of 45 to 55 mph by Thursday. This will produce areas of blowing snow over much of central and southern Minnesota into western Wisconsin, including potential blizzard conditions across west-central Minnesota. Travel could become nearly impossible in this area by Thursday.”
Minnesota Public Radio was calling for up to two feet of snow.
“They say lightning never strikes the same place twice?” Minneapolis Star Tribune weather blogger Paul Douglas wrote. “They would be wrong.
“My blood pressure is just now receding after the 15.7 inches of snow that plastered the MSP metro April 13-15, 2018. ‘A fluke, an cosmic aberration – at least THAT won’t happen again anytime soon!’ I may or may not have been quoted as saying. ‘The odds are slim to nil!’ Excuse me while I walk that one back.”
But, hey, Minnesota asked for this.
“The Land of 10,000 Lakes” was all over “North” when the Superbowl visited the dome in the Twin Cities last year. The lead-in headlines prior to the Superbowl?
“Forget The Midwest: Minnesota Invites Super Bowl Fans To ‘The North.” “Embrace the Bold North in Minneapolis for Super Bowl.” “Forget the Midwest. Minnesota Casts Itself as the North.”
At the time, Minnesota’s attempt to steal Alaska’s long claim to fame as “Seward’s Icebox” just seemed silly. Any comparison of true north land standards quickly showed which state is the north.
- Minnesota, 36 to 70 inches.
- Alaska, 75.5 inches in Anchorage to 45 feet if Thompson Pass. Forty-five feet is enough to bury the average Minnesota home.
- Minnesota, a record 60-degrees-below zero in Tower. Impressive.
- Alaska, what Interior city hasn’t hit a measly minus-60. At least 23 communities have gone to 70 below or colder. The record? 80 below at the Prospect Creek Camp where it felt like a heat wave when the temperature climbed to minus-60.
- Minnesota, none. Global warming wiped them all out 10,000 years ago.
- Alaska, too many to count, but the best guess is about 100,000. And while many are shrinking, they’ll be around for a long, long time yet.
- Minnesota, round and round at the “Alex Winter Spectacular.”
- Alaskans, 2,000 miles across vast wilderness from Big Lake to Nome and then back to Fairbanks in the Iron Dog, the world’s longest, toughest snowmachine race. (Alaska also calls the crotch-rockets of winter what they are – machines. A mobile is something you hang above a baby’s crib.)
- Minnesota, sometimes visible above the northern horizon.
- Alaska, regularly arching across the sky from north to south and east to west. Sometimes they pack so much energy you can hear them. Nobody has ever reporting hearing the aurora in Minnesota.
- Minnesota, Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon.
- Alaska,Jack London and Tales of the North. The book would need to be renamed if the Midwest became the North. London never wrote diddly about Minnesota.
- Minnesota, a 2,301-foot, tree-covered, hill called “Eagle Mountain.”
- Alaska, 20,310 foot, glacier-covered, Mount Denali, the tallest mountain on the continent. It rises so high that the summer tourists visiting the north from Minnesota complain they can’t see the top because it’s lost in the clouds.
- Minnesota, none.
- Alaska, about 30,000.
But now? Could it be back to the future?
Climate zone shifts
Fifteen thousand years ago, geologists say, glaciers were rapidly disappearing around the Alaska gulf coast, but parts of Minnesota remained buried beneath the Laurentide Ice Sheet.
Could this mark the planet’s return to those woolly mammoth days? Probably not. Most climatologists are in agreement the planet is warming, even if Minnesota is temporarily cooling, and that these strange phenomenon are what one might expect as climate changes.
This shift, specifically, can be blamed on perturbations in the Arctic oscillation and polar vortex that delivered the Cook Inlet region of Alaska an April-like March and cool weather for the U.S East Coast.
Though trends over the last several years favored “an aggressive advance of the spring season and above normal temperatures, there was no sign of a warm start to spring for the Eastern U.S. and Europe,” MIT climatologist Judah Cohen writes at AER.com. “This was related to high latitude blocking, especially across Greenland and a negative Arctic oscillation (A0)/ North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). A strongly negative AO/NAO has been elusive for many of the recent winters, the season a strong negative AO/NAO is most common. I don’t have a good reason for the recent scarcity of a strongly negative AO/NAO, and I only have a speculative reason for why it is finally occurring in April 2019.”
The speculation involves warm air moving north toward a colder Arctic and then rising into the stratosphere and troposphere which, in turn, causes a ridge in the atmosphere over Alaska and along the West Coast of North America. The ridge directs eastward moving air from the tropics toward Alaska to warm things up.
Another ridge over Greenland blocks the eastward movement of polar weather. It then pushed down into the Midwest and East with the predictable results: snow and cold.
The Arctic picture is somewhat confusing, however, and has climatologists doing a little head scratching. Polar ice rebounded this year and while still low rose to seventh in the 40-year satellite record. But Alaska’s Bering Sea was strangely lacking in ice and temperatures on Alaska’s Arctic coast were hitting recording-breaking highs.
As March ended, Alaska climatologist Brian Brettschnieder noted a week-long run of temps that ranged from 31.9 to 40 degrees above normal at Deadhorse on the North Slope of the Brooks Range.
Meanwhile, in Minnesota – where the corn planting season for farmers has been known to start as early as April 20 – it’s snowing. A similar weather pattern last year significantly disrupted normal planting schedules, according to the Minnesota Corner Growers Association.
“All these headaches started with the mid-April blizzard that dumped a foot of snow, or more, across southern Minnesota,” the association’s website reported. “This was followed by weeks of cool weather, which meant the snow was slow to leave.”
And now it’s looking like deja vu all over again.
Shhh…..don’t tell anyone but today we’re going to see clear skies, sunny and 60 in Fairbanks (and 75 on my south facing deck). CHEERS!
Kind of an apples to oranges comparison about the “Bold North” don’t you think. But why not have some fun with this line of logic. Hey, let’s compare Minnesota’s professional sports teams to Alaska’s. Minnesota has professional football, baseball, men’s hockey, women’s hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and soccer. And Alaska has what? Dog mushing? Snow machiners? How about Fortune 500 companies? Let’s compare….I think you get my drift about the ridiculousness of it all.
Craig, instead of focusing on a marketing campaign of a state (we all know that Virginia is the ONLY state for lovers) perhaps you should research and call attention to the copyrighted phrase “Ice Box of the Nation” that International Falls, MN has laid claim to. How dare they use that phrase. Be careful, though. I’ve heard Siberia is not too happy that Alaska brands itself as the “The Last Frontier”….
how dare they!
As far as mountains go, we’re just a little late to the geologic party. The Sawtooth Range on the north shore of Lake Superior was probably pretty damn impressive in it’s heyday a billion or so years ago.
i’m sure they were. i take it you got out of dogs, but i see you didn’t go back to those Minnesota mountains.
Right on both counts, Craig, but I have “summited” Eagle Mountain!
I always thought bragging about being the land of 10,000 lakes was funny, it’s such a cute little number. How many do we have here in Alaska 1,000,000 or something like that.
Over 3 million.
Did you ever consider that 360 degrees in a circle is very close to the 365 +/- days in our orbital cycle?
Of course “degrees” is a man-made approximation of the days in a year and an easily divisible number for apportioning. Smart.
Therefore our planetary axial tilt changes its orientation to the sun by approximately 1 degree per day.
Next time I will explain the reason a clock was invented.
Earth’s axial tilt (obliquity) oscillates between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees on a 41,000-year cycle; the earth’s mean obliquity is currently 23Â°26â€²12.7â€³ (or 23.43687Â°) and decreasing.
Most people understand Earth’s orbit around the sun is elliptical. However, I was surprised the difference between the perihelion (147 million km) and the aphelion (152 million km) was relatively minor. Fortunately for the northern hemisphere we are furthest from the sun in July when our axial tilt is facing almost directly at the Sun.If the situation were reversed we would be receiving 6% more radiation in the summer and 6% less in the winter.
Milankovitch cycles have caused radiance variations of as much as 25% (locally; global average changes are much smaller) over long periods. The most recent significant event was an axial tilt of 24° during boreal summer near the Holocene climatic optimum.
Yes I did get these stats from Wikipedia.
I forgot to mention orbital eccentricity which runs on a cycle of 413,000 years.
“Why Newton Believed a Comet Caused Noah’s Flood” Good read!
“Masse’s biggest idea is that some 5,000 years ago, a 3-mile-wide ball of rock and ice swung around the sun and smashed into the ocean off the coast of Madagascar. The ensuing cataclysm sent a series of 600-foot-high tsunamis crashing against the world’s coastlines and injected plumes of superheated water vapor and aerosol particulates into the atmosphere. Within hours, the infusion of heat and moisture blasted its way into jet streams and spawned superhurricanes that pummeled the other side of the planet. For about a week, material ejected into the atmosphere plunged the world into darkness. All told, up to 80 percent of the world’s population may have perished, making it the single most lethal event in history.”
Another good one http://discovermagazine.com/2007/nov/did-a-comet-cause-the-great-flood
An idea Chris but hardly on the order of this:https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/science/dinosaurs-extinction-asteroid.html
Bill, that asteroid/comet was 66 million years ago. The biblical flood was only 5000 years ago. I think Newton and Whitson are on to something.
Al Gore the scientist!!! https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2019/04/09/watch-incoherent-john-kerry-get-destroyed-over-his-bogus-climate-change-claims-n2544503
I have to agree with Kerry that was not a serious conversation, Del.
“Current CO2 levels of 410 parts per million (ppm) were last seen on Earth three million years ago, according to the most detailed reconstruction of the Earth’s climate by researchers at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and published in Science Advances.
Yes, you read that correctly, three million — million — years ago CO2 levels on Earth were the same as they are today, but there is one major difference between three million years ago and today…
Three million years ago, we humans were not driving cars or eating the meat that requires cow farts; we weren’t barbecuing or refusing to recycle or building factories; there was no Industrial Age, no plastic, no air conditioning, no electricity, no lumber mills, no consumerism, no aerosols.
In fact, three million years ago, there were probably no human beings on Earth, at least not human in the way we use that term today. And yet…
CO2 levels were the same then as they are now…
But I thought humans warmed the planet? That’s the hustle we’ve been sold for three decades now — you know, that WE are the problem.”
Good god man – give it a rest! I’m going to get you and Steve matching tin-foil hats and paint one red and the other blue and let you guys figure out who wears which one. Your posts are so predictable – they are getting boring. Global warming – false! Any knocks on Trump – Treason! We get it – we just don’t need to have more words from you in the comment section than Craig writes in his articles – besides, we all know what you’re going to say. Why don’t you start your own website – I heard that Alex Jones is looking for a new partner?…
Your comments are as predicable as me saying….. Cheers!
Come on Jack, you know what I am trying to convey or at least you should. Plus, I don’t think I am the one pushing a trillion dollar bogus agenda. Why do you bring-up “tin-foil hats, Trump, Alex Jones, Steve”, etc? Please explain where you disagree on what I posted? I mean, AOC said we are all going to have to live in caves, get rid cows, airplanes, cars, and all modern day conveniences or face certain death in 12yrs due to “Climate Change”. Call me a tin-foil wearing hat’r but, I call BS. Maybe you care to share otherwise?
Since the climate changes every 3 months I am going to go with that.
Does anybody realize the earth is spinning and ocillating back and forth and tilting with the moon and sun which in turn creates various different weather patterns?
Climate is amazing, and people who know anything about it know they don’t know everything about it.
Look up Dansgaard-Oeschger events, from a report on just such events:
Ice-core records show that climate changes in the past have been large, rapid, and synchronous over broad areas extending into low latitudes, with less variability over historical times. These ice-core records come from high mountain glaciers and the polar regions, including small ice caps and the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.
As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades. Such abrupt changes have been absent during the few key millennia when agriculture and industry have arisen. The speed, size, and extent of these abrupt changes required a reappraisal of climate stability. Records of these changes are especially clear in high-resolution ice cores. Ice cores can preserve histories of local climate (snowfall, temperature), regional (wind-blown dust, sea salt, etc.), and broader (trace gases in the air) conditions, on a common time scale, demonstrating synchrony of climate changes over broad regions.
I actually like AOC, she is a breath of fresh air, compared to the Caucasian males, that have been in control, since Washington became our 1st president. Females do a better job of running our government than males. All we do is make war?
Trump is president, because he his supported by the banks, corporations, conservative caucus, evangelicals, white suprematists and nationalists. Ultra conservative judges with lifetime appointments, that is why he is president. The Demos cannot figure it out.
By 2050, US population will be 50% majority, mostly Hispanic, akso we will have a White conservative justice system, that will start to lose its majority by then.
I will also be dead and gone, glad I will not be around. The white man’s rule is coming to a close, they just do not know it yet! How does that work for you!
You mean like female run Sweden? What a female run dosaster. You mean like Pelosi, Hillary, and Warren? Maybe Maxine the racist nut? Listening to AOC is like listening to a 3rd grader with a teacher in front of her with flashcards telling her what to say. “We need to get rid of cows”, while eating a juicy burger. “We need to get rid of cars”, while driving a gas chugging SUV. Yep, that typical leftist hypocrite is a breath of fresh air. Listening that that idiot I am grateful for the white men who run DC. Francis “Beto” O’Rourke is a white guy right? Oh wait! Never mind. Haha Oh, what is a “white Nationalist” anyway? Another racist made-up term of something?
How about this James?
Kinda seems a tad racist and sexist, personally I would like to see the best and brightest running our government regardless of what they were born as…but to each their own.